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Financial settlement nears for victims of Lac-Mégantic rail disaster

Montreal Gazette -- Victims of the 2013 rail disaster in Lac-Mégantic will be consulted in the coming days on a $300M financial settlement that is being proposed by the railway company that was involved.
The Montreal Maine & Atlantic Canada Co. announced by news release on Friday that it will hold information sessions on the compensation package at the Centre sportif Mégantic in Lac-Mégantic on May 27 and on June 3 to explain the details. Victims or their designated relatives will be asked to vote on the package on June 9. Victims were mailed detailed packages, the news release said.
Victims claiming post-traumatic stress have until Aug. 31 to fill out a medical claim form.
If the victims and their representatives approve the package, and if the package is then approved by the courts in Canada and the U.S.,  (go to article)

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Electric Vehicles Come Out Ahead Of Gas Cars On Taxes--Except In Two States:

Yahoo News. -- Several states have adopted or proposed special taxes and fees for electric-car drivers. which are supposed to make up for lost revenue from taxes on the fuel their drivers don't buy.  (go to article)

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Pipeline spill could further hamper big California oil projects

Downstream Today (Reuters) -- Hundreds of barrels of oil that gushed from a ruptured coastal pipeline in scenic California this week could stiffen opposition to large oil projects that companies want to build in the state, notably those to deliver cheap U.S. crude on trains.

Several proposed oil-by-rail offloading terminals in California were already being contested in light of several fiery crude train derailments since 2013 that have stoked safety concerns about spills and explosions.

Now, the sight of oil washing up on the shores of Santa Barbara could further galvanize rail opponents after up to 2,500 barrels of crude leaked on Tuesday from a pipeline owned by Plains All American Pipeline LP.

"The more oil we're moving through the state, the greater the risk of these sorts of accidents," said Paul Cort, an attor  (go to article)

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Oil Prices Drop Ahead of Holiday Weekend

Fox -- Oil fell more than 1 percent on Friday as a rallying dollar and profit-taking ahead of a long U.S. holiday weekend cut short a two-day run-up in crude prices.

Heating oil, a proxy play for diesel, and gasoline slipped more than 1 percent too on concerns of outsized U.S. supply despite forecasts for a spike in driving this weekend and through Monday's Memorial Day holiday.

Worries that fewer U.S. oil rigs were being idled after a broad rebound in crude prices since early April further weighed on sentiment.

U.S. crude was down 95 cents at $59.77 a barrel by 11:45 a.m. EDT (1545 GMT). But for the week, it was expected to rise slightly, gaining for a 10th straight week.  (go to article)

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U.S. Seen Sticking to 'Blend Wall' in Long-awaited Biofuels Mandate

Downstream Today (Reuters) -- U.S. authorities are set to shake up the nation's complex and contentious renewable fuels policy in the coming days, issuing requirements expected to affirm that use of ethanol in motor fuels has, for now, hit a saturation point.

The EPA has pledged by June 1 to release proposals for the amount of ethanol, biodiesel and cellulosic fuels - made of plant waste - that must be mixed into motor fuel for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016, targets that are up to a year and a half behind schedule.

At stake, say lobbyists and industry groups, is the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a bedrock of two presidential administrations meant to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil and shift the nation toward cleaner, domestic energy sources.

For the corn lobby, which represents corn-based e  (go to article)

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100 million car recalls since the start of 2014

CNN Money -- There have been roughly 100 million vehicle recalls in the United States since the start of last year.

And most of the affected cars have yet to be repaired.

There were a record 74.2 million recalls in 2014, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

And there have already been 25 million recalls in 2015, according to Kevin Pollack, vice president for Stericycle ExpertSolutions, which helps automakers manage recalls.
 (go to article)

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Consumers to save $600 at gas pump, but spend it on costlier imported goods

CBC News -- Analysis of savings on gasoline shows there's little left as food and clothing get more expensive
We may be saving money at the gas pump, but the increased cost of food and consumer goods is likely wiping out the benefits for most Canadian families.
That's the conclusion of a report by TD Bank on the impact of lower gas prices on retail sales.
TD estimates the average Canadian household will save $600 at the pumps in 2015, but lose an equivalent amount because of the low Canadian dollar which is making imported food, consumer goods and services more expensive.
The news comes as Statistic Canada data shows retail sales volumes fell 1.6% in the Q1 of this year
However, the trend is improving. Canadian retail sales rose a stronger-than-expected 0.7% in dollar terms in March building a 1.5% g  (go to article)

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Saudi Arabia foresees fossil fuel phase-out this century

Financial Times -- Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude exporter, could phase out the use of fossil fuels by the middle of this century, Ali al-Naimi, the kingdom's oil minister, said on Thursday.
The statement represents a stunning admission by a nation whose wealth, power and outsize influence in the world are predicated on its vast reserves of crude oil
 (go to article)

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Obama Effort to Control Emissions May Double Coal Plant Closures

Bloomberg -- A new government analysis of President Barack Obama’s signature effort to fight climate change affirms what critics suspected: the proposal could further weaken an already battered coal industry.

Electricity generation from the carbon-intensive fossil fuel would fall by 90 gigawatts, more than twice the decline government analysts had predicted as recently as April, according to a report released Friday by the Energy Information Administration.

Most of the coal-plant closures would come by 2020, when the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to cut carbon dioxide emissions would kick in. Consumers may also take a hit as electricity prices would increase as much as 7 percent on average by 2025, partly because of the costs of building new power plants.

“In short, EIA confirms EPA’s  (go to article)

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Oil Platform in Gulf of Mexico Shuts In Production After Fire

Bloomberg -- A platform gathering oil in the Gulf of Mexico shut in about 2,200 barrels a day of output after a compressor caught fire.

The Texas Petroleum Investment Co. platform in Breton Sound Block 21, near the southeastern Louisiana coast, evacuated 28 workers without injury after the compressor fire, according to a U.S. Coast Guard statement. A Coast Guard boat crew was fighting the blaze, and a 1.4-mile rainbow sheen was “drifting southwest of the platform.”

The platform gathers crude from about 50 to 60 wells and sends it to shore by pipeline, David Marguiles, a spokesman for the Houston-based company, said by e-mail. There were about 100 barrels of crude in storage on the platform at the time of the fire.

The fire occurred in Louisiana waters, Eileen Angelico, spokeswoman for U.S. Bureau  (go to article)

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US oil settles $1 lower, at $59.72 a barrel

Reuters -- WTI oil futures settled modestly lower on Friday after Baker Hughes reported its weekly U.S. oil rig count fell by just 1 rig.
The rig count has fallen every week since Dec. 12, though the pace of declines has fallen recently. The number of rigs drilling for crude in U.S. oilfields stands at 659, compared with 1,528 a year ago
 (go to article)

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Chinese Drivers Pay for Roads. Why Can't Americans?

Bloomberg -- Despite this country's much lower per capita income, Chinese drivers pay noticeably more in fees per mile than American drivers do. The higher fees encourage people to use high-speed rail and other alternatives for getting around. And the money finances new and more efficient investments in highways.
In the U.S., we are unwilling to levy either dedicated taxes (the federal gas tax hasn't been raised in more than 20 years) or charge tolls and other user fees.
Furthermore, many other kinds of changes are needed before the U.S. can move forward with an ambitious infrastructure program.
But Congress is kidding itself if it believes that it's possible to substantially expand investments for the future without asking users to pay more.  (go to article)

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Canadian Oil’s Premium for Quick Delivery Grows as Stocks Drop

BOE Report (Bloomberg) -- Buyers of Canadian heavy crude who need the commodity right away are paying a widening premium as inventories plunge.
Heavy Western Canadian Select for May delivery sold for $49.02 a barrel, $2.49 more than for delivery in August, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Yesterday, the crude cost $2.38 more for immediate delivery than for delivery in August. A month ago, one could buy it now at a discount to future months.

Stockpiles in Edmonton have fallen to their lowest since October as a new Enbridge Inc. pipeline increased shipments to Hardisty, according to a Genscape Inc. report Wednesday. Hardisty inventories have also declined. Maintenance work on oil sands sites that use steam to melt bitumen are cutting supplies just as refinery demand is strongest.

“Currently, spot WCS is high due to  (go to article)

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Why Many Experts Missed This: Cheap Oil Can Hurt US Economy

ABC News-AP -- If there was one thing most economists agreed on at the start of the year, it was this: Plunging oil prices would boost the U.S. economy.

It hasn't worked out that way.

The economy is thought to have shrunk in the January-March quarter and may barely grow for the first half of 2015 — thanks in part to sharp cuts in energy drilling. And despite their savings at the gas pump, consumers have slowed rather than increased their spending.

At $2.71 a gallon, the average price of gas nationwide is nearly $1 lower than it was a year ago. In January, the average briefly reached $2.03, the lowest in five years.

Cheaper oil and gas had been expected to turbocharge spending and drive growth, more than making up for any economic damage caused by cutbacks in the U.S. oil patch.

 (go to article)

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U.S. drivers yield 'swing' oil demand crown to Saudis

Reuters -- NEW YORK (Reuters) - As the United States raced over the past five years toward becoming a global petroleum powerhouse, the world's biggest oil exporter Saudi Arabia quietly seized a market milestone from America: the largest source of peak summer demand.  (go to article)

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SCAM ALERT: Beware Of This New Scam At The Gas Pump

My High Plains -- LUBBOCK -- Thieves are swapping the nozzles of gas pumps and waiting for an unsuspecting victim to drive up and swipe their credit or debit card.

"Gas is too expensive to be playing around with," said Steven Saless who was pumping gas at Bolton's.

In California thieves are going to pumps and switching the gas nozzle and hose and placing them on the opposite side of where they belong. Then the thief waits for someone else to pull up and start pumping gas.  (go to article)

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Gas prices set to fall

CNN Money -- Gas prices have been steadily climbing, but with the summer driving season starting with the Memorial Day weekend, drivers could soon begin to see some relief at the pump.
"Everything points to the notion that we are very close to a peak price of 2015," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service, which tracks prices for AAA, as well as GasBuddy.com  (go to article)

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U.S. retail gasoline prices lowest since 2009 heading into Memorial Day weekend

EIA -- On May 18, the U.S. average retail price for gasoline was $2.74 per gallon ($/gal), or 92¢ per gallon (¢/gal) lower than at the same time last year. This is the lowest average price heading into the Memorial Day weekend—the traditional start of the summer driving season—since 2009.

Lower gasoline prices reflect lower crude oil prices, with the spot price of North Sea Brent crude oil at more than $45 per barrel ($/b) lower than the same time last year, despite having increased more than $10/b since the beginning of February.
Average retail prices for all regions of the country are below the level at the same time last year, even in the West Coast Region, where supply disruptions pushed gasoline prices to $3.51/gal on May 18, 77¢/gal higher than the U.S. average. Average retail gasoline pr  (go to article)

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Pipeline operator in oil spill has high rate of safety infractions

Ventura County Star -- LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Plains Pipeline, the large Texas-based company responsible for the pipe that ruptured in Santa Barbara County, has accumulated 175 safety and maintenance infractions since 2006, according to federal records.

A Times analysis of data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration shows Plains' rate of incidents per mile of pipe is more than three times the national average.

The company's infractions involved pump failure, equipment malfunction, pipeline corrosion and operator error. None of the incidents resulted in injuries. According to federal records, since 2006 the company's incidents caused more than $23 million in property damage and spilled more than 688,000 gallons of hazardous liquid.

A Plains Pipeline spokesman did not immediately respon  (go to article)

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Gas prices set to fall

CNN Money -- Gas prices have been steadily climbing, but with the summer driving season starting with the Memorial Day weekend, drivers could soon begin to see some relief at the pump.

"Everything points to the notion that we are very close to a peak price of 2015," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service, which tracks prices for AAA, as well as GasBuddy.com

The average price of a gallon of regular gas heading into the weekend stood at $2.74, the high point so far this year. That's up 25 cents a gallon over the last month, but it's still about 90 cents a gallon cheaper than gas was a year ago.  (go to article)

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Oil’s Whodunit Moment Coming With Millions of Barrels to Vanish

Bloomberg -- Millions of barrels of untapped oil that U.S. shale drillers discovered during the boom years are about to disappear from their inventories.  (go to article)

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Saudi Oil Supply Outpaces Rivals in Grab for Record China Demand

Bloomberg -- Saudi Arabia expanded its share of China’s oil market last month, outpacing rival producers as they compete to meet record demand from the world’s biggest energy consumer.

China’s imports from the Middle East producer jumped 37 percent from a year earlier to the highest level since July 2013, according to customs data. The world’s biggest crude exporter was the No. 1 supplier to the Asian nation, accounting for 17.4 percent of its overseas purchases, up from 15.1 percent in March. The next three largest sellers -- Russia, Iran and Angola -- lost market share.

Record imports by China are contributing to a recovery in benchmark oil from a six-year low amid speculation the purchases will help shrink the global supply glut that drove crude’s collapse in 2014. Saudi Arabia has led OPEC’s pol  (go to article)

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ACLU sues Michigan over transgender driver's licenses

wndu.com -- DETROIT The state of Michigan is being sued over its refusal to change gender identities on driver'slicenses without a new birth certificate.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan is representing six transgender people who no longer recognize their birth gender. But the ACLU says the secretary of state won't allow them to change their license unless they present an amended birth certificate.

The ACLU says that's "difficult if not impossible." A lawsuit filed Thursday in Detroit federal court asks that Michigan's policy be declared unconstitutional.

The ACLU says an amended birth certificate in Michigan requires proof of transgender surgery, although most transgender people don't want surgery.

Secretary of State spokeswoman Gisgie Gendreau says the agency is following state law  (go to article)

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Oil’s Whodunit Moment Coming With Millions of Barrels to Vanish

Bloomberg -- Millions of barrels of untapped oil that U.S. shale drillers discovered during the boom years are about to disappear from their inventories.

Six years ago, the industry pushed the Securities and Exchange Commission to make it easier for companies to claim proved reserves for wells that wouldn’t be drilled for years. Some prospects considered sure-things when crude was $95 a barrel are money losers at today’s $60. When crude crashed in 2008, 44 U.S. companies wiped 630 million barrels from their books.

Now the stakes are higher. Of all the proved reserves of oil and natural gas liquids found by the 44 companies since 2008, more than half -- 5.4 billion barrels out of the 9.7 billion -- is attributed to wells that don’t exist yet, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
 (go to article)

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California DMV scrambles to write the rules for driverless cars

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..nypost.comAfter a year of testing its bubble-shaped driverless cars on the empty roads of a shuttered Central Valley military base, Google is about to deploy its fleet on the busy streets of Silicon Valley.According to the San Jose Mercury News, for now, the cars must have safety drivers ready to grab the wheel or hit the brakes if something goes wrong. But self-driving software could soon move from test cars to consumer vehicles as the California Department of Motor Vehicles puts finishing touches this month on new operational rules for autonomous cars, making it the first government in the world to create a detailed handbook for robots on the road.  Are you ready for this? ...  (go to article)

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Why Oil's Rally Is Over

Yahoo! Finance -- A lot of people have got very excited as the price of WTI has bounced back from the lows reached a few months ago. If oil fails to break and hold above $62 this time around, however, their enthusiasm could well be misplaced, as the fundamental factors that caused the price decline in the first instance are still in place.

That, combined with the technical importance of this challenge of the resistance, makes a drop back below $50 look more likely than a continued rally. When short-term technical indicators and long-term fundamentals both suggest a move in the same direction, as is the case here, investors are well advised to pay attention.
 (go to article)

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What's Next for Oil Prices? Look Out Below!

Yahoo! Finance -- The recent rebound in the price of crude oil — up some 40 percent from the March low — dragged energy stocks higher through the beginning of the month. This, in turn, has powered a rebound in inflation expectations in the fixed-income market, punishing long-term Treasury bond prices and pushing up yields.

As a result, the deflationary danger that many worried about earlier this year seems to have passed. Gasoline is back over $4 a gallon again in California. Corporate earnings look set to rebound. Just like that, all is right in the world again. Whew.

But doubts are growing about the sustainability of the oil rally given still high inventory levels, high U.S. production, and now, reports that the Saudis are ramping up production in a belief they've "won" the showdown with...  (go to article)

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The Tesla battery heralds the beginning of the end for fossil fuels

singapore-business-news/Industry/ --
Musk is going to manufacture the batteries in the United States, at the “gigafactory” he is building just over the border from California in Nevada. He is not waiting for some totally new technology, but is scaling up the tried and tested lithium-ion battery that he is already using for his electric vehicles.

Not just for homes

Now the fossil fuel companies – from fuel suppliers such as coal miners to coal-burning electric power utilities – will be on the defensive, fighting the new normal of cheaper renewable supplies and storage. Instead of asking “can we have our own energy system?” communities will be asking “why can’t we have it?”

 (go to article)

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Where are the Unicorns?

The Energy Collective -- Congress Mandates Cellulosic Ethanol and The EPA Tracks It

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is tasked with tracking compliance under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) that was set in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). Obligated parties under the RFS2 must demonstrate compliance with Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), which the EPA created to track RFS2 compliance. A RIN is a 38-character number assigned to a gallon equivalent of renewable fuel produced or imported. For corn ethanol, 1 gallon of ethanol produced generates 1 RIN. Other kinds of biofuel generates RINs at different rates which are defined by the EPA. For certain gaseous biofuels, such as di-methyl-ether (DME) and bio-methane (methane produced from sewage sludge or manure), the EPA h  (go to article)

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1969 Santa Barbara oil spill changed oil and gas exploration forever

Haynesville.com-The Los Angeles Times -- The oil spill that sent at least 21,000 gallons of crude through the waters near the Santa Barbara County coast on Tuesday brought haunting echoes of a much larger spill nearly half a century ago, one that gave birth to the modern environmental movement and forever changed the trajectory of oil and gas exploration in California.

The Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969 spewed an estimated 3-million gallons of crude oil into the ocean, creating an oil slick 35 miles long along California’s coast and killing thousands of birds, fish and sea mammals.

Following the spill, the region became ground zero for some of the most significant conservation efforts of the 20th century.

The Jan. 28, 1969, blowout was caused by inadequate safety precautions taken by Unocal, which was known then as Union Oil.  (go to article)

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OPEC Refuses to Yield in Battle for Oil-Market Share

BloombergBusiness -- OPEC will stick with the strategy of favoring market share over prices when it meets next month because rival producers are already starting to buckle.

All but one of the 34 analysts and traders surveyed by Bloomberg said the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will maintain its daily production target of 30 million barrels when it meets in Vienna on June 5.

Saudi Arabia, the biggest of OPEC’s 12 members, shaped the strategy at the last meeting in November, arguing that the usual response of cutting output to boost prices would not address the threat from shale and other higher-cost suppliers. Prices rose 46 percent since mid-January as producers cut spending plans and the number of active U.S. drilling rigs fell by the most ever.

“Dramatic cuts in spending and drilling are...  (go to article)

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BP Oil Spill Led to Biggest Gulf Dolphin Die-Off Recorded

Newsweek.com -- A study released by the federal government Wednesday adds certainty to the conclusion that the 2010 BP oil spill led to an ongoing spike in bottlenose dolphin deaths in the Gulf of Mexico.

Lesions discovered on the lungs and adrenal glands of dead dolphins found within the footprint of the Deepwater Horizon spill are clear indications of exposure to oil products, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researchers involved in the study.

“No feasible alternative causes remain,” Stephanie Venn-Watson, a veterinary epidemiologist who led the study, told reporters Wednesday. The lesions found by the researchers indicate that many of the dolphins had bacterial pneumonia and adrenal disorders that likely caused their deaths.
 (go to article)

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This Innovation Will Help U.S. Companies Win The Oil Price War

OilPrice.com -- Although some US oil companies are struggling with low oil prices, a new wave of innovation is hitting the oil patch, allowing for a significant reduction in drilling costs.

A variety of different improvements in production are starting to show up at all levels across the industry from small firms to oil majors. Statoil for example recently noted that it is experimenting with different types of sand and chemicals to improve production. And a number of companies have noted that they are moving from drilling wells one at a time, on an ad hoc basis, to drilling multiple wells at once. GE Oil & Gas has produced variable-use pumps that can be turned on and off in order to save energy versus the previous 24-hour a day operation cycle.

The end result of these actions is that per-barrel costs  (go to article)

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Millions expected to travel for Memorial Day

wndu.com -- Mishawaka, Ind.-- The Memorial Day holiday travel period starts Thursday and will run through Monday, May 25. In that time, AAA Travel projects 37.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home.

That is a 4.7 percent increase from the 35.5 million people who traveled last year and the highest travel volume for the holiday in 10 years.

AAA says more than 88 percent of travelers will get to their destination by car, air travel is expected to increase 2.5 percent, and travel by cruises, trains and buses is expected to decrease.

When it comes to gas prices, experts say they should peak for 2015 at about $2.75 per gallon in the next several days. Drivers should see slight declines through the summer. That’s barring any major refining incident, hurricane, or other disrupting facto  (go to article)

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Driverless cars may cut U.S. sales by 40%, Barclays says

AutoNews.com -- U.S. auto sales may drop about 40 percent in the next 25 years because of shared driverless cars, forcing mass-market producers such as General Motors and Ford Motor Co. to slash output, a Barclays Plc analyst said.

Vehicle ownership rates may fall by almost half as families move to having just one car, according to a report published today by the analyst, Brian Johnson. Driverless cars will travel twice as many miles as current autos because they will transport each family member during the day, he wrote.

Large-volume automakers “would need to shrink dramatically to survive,” Johnson wrote. “GM and Ford would need to reduce North American production by up to 68 percent and 58 percent, respectively.”

Self-driving cars have become a frequent topic for auto executives as the technology fo  (go to article)

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Gas Prices Should Stay Low This Summer, And Could Hit $2 By Fall, Researchers Say

Forbes -- You’ve probably noticed that the price of unleaded gasoline has inched up over the past few weeks. That’s typical gas price behavior as Memorial Day approaches, and motorists set off on summer vacations.

The good news, according to a Purdue University researcher, is that gas prices this summer ought to be significantly lower than they were in summer, 2014.

Purdue energy economist Wally Tyner is predicting that gas prices will remain below $3 a gallon for unleaded, except in California and Hawaii where prices are normally higher than in the rest of the country.

The average price of unleaded fuel last week was $2.71 a gallon, according to AAA. Although the price has gone up steadily the past month, it’s still 94 cents a gallon cheaper than at this time a year ago.

One reason Purdue’s Tyn  (go to article)

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OPEC Struggling To Keep Up The Pace In Oil Price War

Oil Price -- Some market watchers, such as Cornerstone Analytics (CA), have consistently stated that the underestimation of demand, coupled with over-estimation of supply, will mask the growing call on OPEC oil in the second half of this year. CA recently noted that global demand outstripped supply by some 4 million barrels in April . This comes in addition to the mounting evidence that the oil market, via rig count declines, slowing production growth, higher demand and huge API crude inventory declines, is starting to readjust.

Be that as it may, Goldman Sachs (GS) seems to believe oil must fall to $45 by October (like it previously thought $30 oil was a certainty) to clear the market and rebalance, despite signs that a readjustment is already underway. When was the last time fundaments got ignored a  (go to article)

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More travelers, lower gas prices predicted for this Memorial Day weekend

NWI Times -- More than 37 million people are expected to travel more than 50 miles from home over the Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA Travel. But to counter any congestion-related travel blues, motorists in the Chicago metropolitan area will continue to get a break on gas prices.
“AAA is expecting more Memorial Day travelers this year than any time in the past 10 years as consumers come out of hibernation ready to explore national parks, beach destinations and America’s great cities,” said Beth Mosher, director of public affairs for AAA Chicago.
“A strong employment market and low gas prices have driven consumer confidence to new highs and boosted Americans’ disposable income.  (go to article)

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Canada's Irving Oil Slams Former Top Executive Over Lawsuit

Reuters -- BOSTON, May 21 (Reuters) - Canada's Irving Oil rejected former top executive Mike Ashar's allegation that he was underpaid millions of dollars, painting him instead as an "unsuccessful" hire who oversaw a decline in the family-owned company's worth during his five-year tenure, according to court documents filed this week.

The legal battle has offered a rare glimpse inside the closely-held company, which runs Canada's largest oil refinery in the Atlantic province of New Brunswick, and is planning to build a storage terminal for the country's most ambitious oil pipeline project, TransCanada's Energy East.
 (go to article)

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B.C. signs LNG deal with Petronas-led group, but tax promises criticized

The Globe and Mail -- The B.C. government has signed a development deal with Pacific NorthWest LNG in an aggressive move to spur the Malaysian-led project to become the first major Canadian exporter of liquefied natural gas.
The pact spells out the tax regime and LNG rules for the long term, aiming to reduce the risks for the project’s Asian backers.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark and Pacific NorthWest LNG president Michael Culbert signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday, clearing the way for the project development agreement’s ratification later this year from the B.C. legislature.
“There has been a lot of work getting here in obtaining and securing a $36-billion investment and there’s still a lot of work ahead of us,” Ms. Clark said during a news conference in Vancouver. “We’ve worked hard to build strong  (go to article)

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Anticosti oil, gas drilling proposals pitched to residents

CBC News -- There could be up to 6,500 wells dug on Quebec's Anticosti Island by the end of this century, according to Energy and Natural Resources Minister Pierre Arcand.
¦Quebec takes control of oil exploration off Anticosti Island
¦Gaz Métro strikes deal in Anticosti natural gas exploitation
¦Anticosti hunt for oil sparks concern over taxpayer risk
Arcand announced Thursday two possible scenarios for oil and gas drilling on Anticosti, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The scenarios were submitted to the island's population at a public consultation.
The first would see up to 6,500 wells during a 75-year production period. The second would have 3,900 wells over a period of 56 years.
In both scenarios, production would begin in 2020.
"What I've seen from the report, there are protected territories, there a  (go to article)

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Get Ready for Solar Boom From China Plants as Asia Demand Swells

Bloomberg -- Solar panel makers globally are preparing for their best year since 2011, when U.S.-backed Solyndra LLC went bust, as China and Japan take advantage of falling prices to shift more of their energy production to clean power.

Panel production is forecast to grow by almost a third this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s a significant reversal for an industry that’s been crippled by its own excess as companies in China including JA Solar Holdings Co. and LDK Solar Co. raised almost $3 billion in 2007 and 2008 to expand production.

By 2010, the market was so oversupplied that the cost of solar cells began tumbling. With the cost of panels down by 66 percent since then, demand is surging as solar technology, for the first time, is able to compete head-to-head on price  (go to article)

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The Grim Promise of India's Coal-Powered Future

Bloomberg -- India is adding 2.5 times as much coal capacity as the U.S. is closing. Some 1.3 billion people need electricity — and the earth needs a break

Burning coal is both a proven way to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and the most dangerous fuel driving global warming. The United Nations has set itself the goal of reconciling these two things, and the results are shaky at best.

Energy ministries from more than 30 nations are meeting at the UN this week, at the Sustainable Development for All Forum, to debate how best to supply electricity to the 1.3 billion people who don't have it—at least 250 million of whom are Indians. The drive toward universal energy access is just one element of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, a super-ambitious worldwide to-do list  (go to article)

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Next Jeep Wrangler won't go all-in on aluminum

FOX News -- America’s most old-school truck is sticking with steel.

Jeep considered switching the next-generation Wrangler to a lightweight aluminum body to improve fuel efficiency and capability, similar to Ford’s recent move with the F-150 pickup, but after running the numbers, has decided against it.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said they’d simulated the mileage, “but because of the difference in costs, not just in materials but the actual assembly process, I think we can do almost as well without aluminum,” The Wall Street Journal reports.  (go to article)

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Texas blocks direct Tesla sales; Texas pol thinks company is run by ‘Mr. Tesla’

BGR News -- Despite Tesla’s best efforts, the Texas legislature this week opted not to pass a bill which would have allowed the electric automaker to sell cars directly to consumers. Instead, if Tesla wants to sell its highly revered vehciles in the lone star state, it looks like it’s going to have to do it through local franchise dealers, something the company has no intention of doing.

The following criticism from Texas state Representative Senfronia Thompson highlights the challenge Tesla is up against.

“It would have been wiser if Mr. Tesla had sat down with the car dealers first,” Thompson said.

Yes, if only Mr. Tesla came back from the dead to sit down for a nice little tete-a-tete with car dealers, perhaps then they could have hammered out a mutually beneficial agreement.

The losers in all  (go to article)

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Canada Oil Patch to See Massive Consolidation, Belski Says

Bloomberg -- Canada will see increased energy mergers and acquisitions in the next 5 to 10 years as cheaper oil forces producers to cut costs, Bank of Montreal’s Brian Belski said.
“Remember the mid-90s, late-90s, massive consolidation for Canada’s big energy companies?” Belski, chief investment strategist at the bank, said during the Bloomberg Canada Economic Summit in Toronto on Thursday. “We think we’re going to see a replay of that.”
 (go to article)

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Takata Deflated: Airbag Recall America's Largest

GasBuddy Blog -- (c)IIHSThe National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has brought the hammer down on Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata. As news broke Tuesday, the agency, which had previously been criticized for being too soft on the automobile industry, announced the largest recall in American automotive history. The recall of Takata-made airbags in 34 million vehicles is said to affect 1 in 7 vehicles on the road today. 
The airbags in question were under investigation for sending shrapnel throughout the car’s compartment upon deployment. These bits of shrapnel could be lodged in passengers, with injuries similar to gunshot or stab wounds....  (go to article)

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Saudi Oil Minister Says World Can’t Abandon Fossil Fuels

The Wall Street Journal -- Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Thursday that he sees a great future for solar power but that the world can’t abandon fossil fuels in the short term

Mr. Naimi, speaking on a panel in Paris, addressed questions about whether the world’s oil-and-gas companies should move on to other forms of energy in the face of climate change linked to human carbon emissions. He said it wouldn’t make economic sense to make a dramatic move now.
 (go to article)

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Oil Prices Strengthen on U.S. Supply Drop

WSJ -- Oil prices gained Thursday on a decline in U.S. oil storage levels and better economic numbers from China.

Light, sweet crude for July delivery recently rose $1.04, or 1.8%, to $60.02 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, rose 81 cents, or 1.3%, to $65.84 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

U.S. oil inventories fell by 2.7 million barrels last week, the third draw in a row, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday. U.S. oil output also fell, to below 9.3 million barrels a day, its lowest level since early February.  (go to article)

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California oil spill cleanup: Governor declares emergency to cut 'red tape'

CNN -- Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency to help clean up an oil pipeline spill that may have dumped more than 100,000 gallons of crude in Southern California.

"This emergency proclamation cuts red tape and helps the state quickly mobilize all available resources," Brown said Wednesday evening. "We will do everything necessary to protect California's coastline."

A ruptured 24-inch pipeline gets the blame for leaking oil near Refugio State Beach, a protected state park about 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles, just before Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the summer tourist season.  (go to article)

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Who Pays For Roads?

USPIRG -- Today, general taxes paid by all taxpayers cover nearly as much of the cost of building and maintaining highways as the gas tax and other fees paid by drivers. The purchasing power of gasoline taxes has declined as a result of inflation, improved vehicle fuel economy, and the recent stagnation in driving. As a result, so-called “user fees” cover a shrinking share of transportation costs.
The time has come for policy-makers
to recognize something that has been true for years, but is especially true today: we
all pay for America’s roads.
Nearly as much of the cost of building
and maintaining highways now comes
from general taxes such as income
and sales taxes (plus additional federal
debt) as comes from gasoline taxes or other “user fees” on drivers. General taxes accounted for $69 billion o  (go to article)

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